Body found in hunt for missing Wetherby pensioner

A body has been found in the search for missing Wetherby pensioner Jean Jellings, six weeks after she disappeared.
Jean Jellings.Jean Jellings.
Jean Jellings.

Officers searching the River Wharfe for the 84-year-old recovered a body, but it has not yet been identified, police said today.

Detective Supt Pat Twiggs, who has overseen the search, said West Yorkshire Police was notified on Monday that a body had been recovered from the River Wharfe at Tadcaster.

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She said: “We are continuing to liaise with our colleagues in North Yorkshire and the identification process is ongoing. The family of Jean Jellings have been made aware.”

Mrs Jellings was last seen going for her usual morning walk from her supported-living home on St James Street at 5.30am on February 20.

She failed to return to the Hadrian Healthcare Group-owned Wetherby Manor and was reported missing.

Extensive searches involving specialist search teams and the police helicopter were carried out in the area in the following days, and local officers have continued to search key areas and distribute posters and leaflets appealing for information.

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Exactly a month after Mrs Jellings went missing, additional officers went into the town to find out more information.

After reported possible sightings, police believed Mrs Jellings had walked along Westgate before turning on Castle Gate.

Previous searches had focused on the river and banks because it was known that Mrs Jellings liked to walk along the riverside and sit near the bandstand in the Wilderness.

Specialist teams had also searched from near the sports club in Wetherby and all the way down the River Wharfe to just outside Tadcaster.

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Mr Twiggs said before the body was found: “Mrs Jellings’ family are understandably upset and very concerned to find out what has happened to her and we are doing all we can to support them and get them the answers they need.

“We are also very much aware that Wetherby is a close-knit community and people there have been maintaining a keen interest in the investigation and want to do all they can to assist in finding her.

“It was completely out of character for her to have gone missing like this but we are satisfied from our enquiries that there are no suspicious circumstances.”